A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Children are not honest with their parents and guardians.
Violence & Scariness
A reference to a story about a monk who cut off his own eyelids. Some people may have been killed in a fire.
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One use of "dammit."
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Products & Purchases
One disparaging reference to McDonald's.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there is little to be concerned about here: one mild expletive, some indirectly referenced violence, and children sneaking out on adventures.
Is It Any Good?
The fun part is the mystery: Children with a taste for this kind of thing will enjoy the clues and codes, and will wish for more of them. Some will be immediately obvious to many kids, while others are more clever, but this part of the story is a fairly humorous romp. The dreary part is the author's voice: Apparently trying to take a leaf from Lemony Snicket's books, he gives incessant warnings about how dangerous it is to read the book; this, combined with the utter lack of anything that justifies the build-up, comes across as lame at best and annoying at worst.
The sum of these parts, along with some plot holes and lapses in logic, make for a book that is modestly entertaining at times and irritating at others. But given the dearth of books in this particular genre of lighthearted mysteries involving codes and a touch of the supernatural, kids who loved Lemony Snicket's or Blue Balliett's books will want to read this too.
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Our Editors Recommend
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